Monday, May 29, 2023

Point of Order: Overseas-focused ministers busy with trade and security issues

Ministers who took time out from the Labour Party congress to attend to portfolio duties were focused largely on promoting the country’s interests overseas.

The statements with the widest implications dealt with:

  • Trade – Damien O’Connor joined ministerial representatives at a meeting in Detroit, USA, to announce the substantial conclusion of negotiations of a new regional supply chains agreement among 14 Indo-Pacific countries.
  • Solomon Islands – The New Zealand Defence Force deployment to Solomon Islands, as part of the regionally led Solomon Islands International Assistance Force, is being extended.
  • Korea - Nanaia Mahuta has left New Zealand to attend the first Korea–Pacific Leaders’ Summit in Seoul.
The announcements are among the latest posts on the government’s official website –

Latest from the Beehive

Prime Minister Chris Hipkins has expressed condolences on behalf of New Zealand to the Kingdom of Tonga following the death of Her Royal Highness Princess Mele Siu’ilikutapu Kalaniuvalu Fotofili.

Defence Minister Andrew Little and Foreign Affairs Minister Nanaia Mahuta have today announced the extension of the New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) deployment to Solomon Islands, as part of the regionally-led Solomon Islands International Assistance Force (SIAF).

Foreign Affairs Minister Nanaia Mahuta will travel to the Republic of Korea today to attend the Korea–Pacific Leaders’ Summit in Seoul and Busan.

Trade and Export Growth Minister Damien O’Connor joined ministerial representatives at a meeting in Detroit, USA today to announce substantial conclusion of negotiations of a new regional supply chains agreement among 14 Indo-Pacific countries.

Our most spoken Pacific language is taking centre stage this week with Vaiaso o le Gagana Samoa – Samoa Language Week kicking off around the country.

Over 90 per cent of New Zealanders are expected to receive this year’s nationwide test of the Emergency Mobile Alert system tonight between 6-7pm.

Indo-Pacific Economic Framework

Damien O’Connor’s news drew attention to a new regional supply chains agreement which (he said) is one of four pillars being negotiated within the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework (IPEF) initiative launched in September 2022.

COVID-19 and Russia’s war on Ukraine had shown how supply chain disruption could impact the cost of living for everyday Kiwis, with shipping container and fuel costs driving inflation, O’Connor said.

He referenced figures from the Customs Brokers and Freight Forwarders Association which show the cost of sending a shipping container from New Zealand to the USA grew from $2,000 to $10,000 at the peak of the disruption.

The time taken for shipping containers to travel across major global shipping routes surged from under 60 days in 2019 to an all-time high of more than 120 days in 2022, according to Flexport’s Ocean Timeliness Indicator.

The 14 countries in the IPEF group, which include the United States, Japan, Korea, India and most members of ASEAN, account for 40% of world GDP in 2021.

The Supply Chains agreement signals an intention to act to improve the resilience, efficiency, productivity, sustainability, transparency, diversification, security, fairness, and inclusivity of supply chains involving IPEF countries.

Partners undertake to:
  • Promote regulatory transparency in areas which may impact IPEF supply chains;
  • Develop a shared understanding of global supply chain risks through each Party identifying their critical sectors and key goods in their supply chains;
  • Monitor for and address supply chain vulnerabilities; and
  • Promote responsible business conduct and transparency in terms of upholding labour rights in supply chains.
Further information can be found here:

Solomon Islands

Andrew Little said New Zealand has a long history of working alongside the Royal Solomon Islands Police Force to support peace and stability.

“We are proud to be part of this Australian-coordinated, regional effort where police and defence organisations from within the Pacific work together to support the region’s own security needs.”

As part of NZ’s ongoing security relationship with Solomon Islands, the deployment of up to 15 NZDF personnel has been extended by seven months, to be reviewed again by 31 December 2023.

The Pacific-led SIAF, established in 2021 at the request of the Solomon Islands Government.

NZDF personnel were deployed to Honiara alongside Australian, Fijian, and Papua New Guinean counterparts in November 2021, to support the Royal Solomon Islands Police Force (RSIPF) in restoring peace and stability following a period of civil unrest. SIAF has continued to support the RSIPF to maintain peace and stability including through community engagement and reassurance.

New Zealand Army personnel deployed to Solomon Islands have been assisting to build the capacity of the RSIPF through planning and coordination of community patrols and security for key locations. They also support community engagement and relationship building.

New Zealand Police officers also remain in Solomon Islands to provide capacity building support to their RSIPF colleagues as part of Aotearoa New Zealand and Solomon Islands’ policing partnership.

Korea-Pacific Leaders’ Summit

The Korea–Pacific Leaders’ Summit will be hosted by Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol and Prime Minister Han Duck-soo.

Korea has been a Pacific Island Forum Dialogue Partner since 1995.

In Seoul, Nanaia Mahuta will meet with her counterpart, Minister of Foreign Affairs Park Jin, and will deliver a national statement on ‘Preserving maritime zones in the face of climate change related sea-level rise’. She will also host an event for New Zealand and Korean businesses to build connections and promote New Zealand’s brand in Korea, our fifth largest trading partner.

In Busan, Mahuta will visit the United Nations Memorial and Cemetery to pay her respects to the New Zealanders who fought in the Korean War and lay a wreath for the 34 Aotearoa New Zealand soldiers buried there.

She will also visit New Zealand soldiers serving at the Demilitarised Zone on the border between North and South Korea, and underline New Zealand’s support for maintaining peace and security on the Korean Peninsula.

This year marks 70 years since the signing of the Armistice in Korea that brought the fighting to an end.

Point of Order is a blog focused on politics and the economy run by veteran newspaper reporters Bob Edlin and Ian Templeton


Ken S said...

An Indo-Pacific agreement being signed in DETROIT? I wonder who is the station-master for this gravy train.

Anonymous said...

To attend to Portfolio Duties. Yeah right, more like ringing up their masters at the WEF/UN/WHO/IMF.